From Official Toronto Maple Leafs
3:45 PM: Tonight’s officials will be Tom Kowal and Dan O’Rourke. Scott Driscoll and Brian Murphy will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in can watch on Hockey Night in Canada, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.
Get set for game time with Joe Bowen and Paul Hendrick who check in from Ottawa.
Toronto Maple Leafs
24 Holland – 43 Kadri – 47 Komarov
40 Grabner – 42 Bozak – 15 Parenteau
23 Matthias – 16 Spaling – 26 Winnik
19 Lupul – 56 Froese – 28 Boyes
2 Hunwick – 44 Rielly
3 Phaneuf – 20 Corrado
51 Gardiner – 46 Polak
68 Hoffman – 93 Zibanejad – 6 Ryan
15 Smith – 44 Pageau – 61 Stone
10 Prince – 27 Lazar – 90 Chiasson
43 Dzingel – 13 Paul – 25 Neil
3 Methot – 65 Karlsson
74 Borowiecki – 5 Ceci
46 Wiercioch – 45 Wideman
3:20 PM: James Reimer gets the start in goal for the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. In 18 career games vs. the Senators, Reimer is 11-3-2 with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. He has three shutouts in that span. He has won his last two games and has points in five of his last six starts.
3:15 PM: Brad Boyes returns to the Leafs lineup on Saturday night. Here’s what he had to say prior to facing the Senators…
On the gap between games:
It’s been a break for sure, but a lot of guys have gone through it. It’s new for me — I’ve been out a game or two here or there but not a stretch like this. To get back into it I’ve just got to make sure I get back and ready to play. Physically I’ve done a lot of stuff off-ice. A lot of work afterwards, skating and stuff. Just mentally making sure that I’m doing simple things, getting the feel of the puck back and all those things under pressure.
Is this a mental challenge even though you’ve played 800 games?
Things are different though, all those games are all different situations. Again, this is a different situation for me. It’s just getting that mindset right, getting to the point that I’m playing the game, get out there, feel the puck but don’t think too much. That’s what I’m going to try to focus on.
On fellow Mississauga native Nick Paul making his debut for the Senators tonight:
I was in Dallas and I was playing for San Jose, just that one game. It was far from here. It was two teams that aren’t huge market teams, it was different. For him, playing against his hometown team, that’s exciting. He’s going to be thrilled I’m sure. Again, it comes down to keeping emotions in-check. It’s going to get too high, you can’t do it that way, you can’t get too low. You’ve got to try to keep it even-keel, which isn’t an easy task. I’m sure he’s thrilled and he’s going to have so many texts and calls from outside people that he’s going to be ready to go for sure.
Do you try to use sitting for a stretch as motivation?
Sure, and that’s kind of the way I’ve been taking it since I’ve been out. I’m not happy but I’m not going to use that against myself. I’m not going to sit there and mope and not get better or not prepare myself for when it does happen because things change — guys get hurt, get back in the lineup, whatever it is, things will turn around. For me it was making sure I’m ready. If I’m not in, making sure I’m ready for the next one.
Is that ability to stay focused and prepare a byproduct of experience?
To a degree, I think sometimes it can — again, it’s different, I’ve never been out for this amount of time. Some experience comes in, maybe maturity comes into it, but it’s a different scenario. Looking at what I’ve got to do tonight, it’s not what’s happened in the past five games, whatever it is I haven’t played. It’s what am I going to do tonight.
3:00 PM: Frank Corrado will suit up for the Leafs once again on Saturday night. Here’s what he had to say ahead of tonight’s game…
What has the opportunity to play regularly meant to your confidence and consistency?
As a young player you have to show you’re consistent and that’s every day. Having a high intensity level every day and working hard in practice and in the gym. Obviously it’s a process but it’s something that never stops.
On the importance of keeping things simple:
Keep things simple, play your game. Obviously I jump in the rush when I can and make things happen with the puck but my whole goal is to just keep things simple, play my game and see what happens.
Is taking a puck more painful than it looks or less painful?
It’s just about as painful as it looks. It’s not too bad, it’s getting better.
What’s it like going into your first Leafs vs. Senators game after growing up a Leafs fan?
It’s pretty cool. It’s one of those things I grew up watching, especially with the playoff series, that’s what made it a big deal was all those playoff series. It’s pretty cool to be part of it as a player, it’s not something you think you’re going to be a part of. You remember some of the guys like Alfredsson, Yashin, guys that you kind of hated growing up. It’s pretty cool to be playing against Ottawa.
2:45 PM: Here’s what Mike Babcock had to say ahead of Saturday night’s tilt in Ottawa…
On building off recent games for a good showing in Ottawa:
Well obviously I think prior to that [recent run of games] we were playing good too, it’s just you want to find a way to get points each and every night. The priority for us, we have to be more disciplined. In the last five games we’ve taken too many penalties, whether shooting it over the glass is a lack of discipline, too many men on the ice penalties gliding to the bench on a long change, we can’t be in the penalty box against their power play so that’s critical. And then obviously starting on time on the road is as well.
What does Brad Boyes have to do tonight coming back into the lineup?
Just do what you do. Make sure you’re getting for feet going, make sure you’re involved offensively, take care of the puck.
What went into the decision to send Clune to the Marlies?
I’m not going there… Rich played great, Rich played real good. Business.
Is taking away Karlsson’s speed through the middle a key to success?
Obviously on the right side they’ve got as active a back end as anybody with Ceci and Wideman, the three of them. Obviously Karl sets the tone, he’s a real gifted, gifted offensive player if you give him time and space and get moving, he’s going to get you in trouble. We’ve got to look after that.
How do you think Corrado is looking in this stretch?
I thought he played real well. I think he skates good, I think he’s up on his gap, he makes good plays. He’s light and not strong enough so those are things we’ve been working with ever since he arrived so he’s getting heavier and getting stronger and it looks to me like he has an opportunity to be a good player. He’s just got to continue to work off-ice on his strength. The more he plays now the more confidence he’s getting, he’ll be a good player for us.
Do you think you’ll work Bernier into one of these five road games?
I never spent a whole lot of time thinking about that, I just know Reims is starting today.
What does the long stretch on the road mean to the team?
Well six of seven [on the road] is what we talked about. Six of seven, you’ve got to get on a road run and have some fun, enjoy it. For me it’s great, we’re going to Western Canada, I’m from there. Should be fun. The weather will be cold, it’ll be hockey weather, let’s get after it.
2:30 PM: The Maple Leafs make their first trip to Ottawa tonight when they take on the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Leafs enter Saturday’s game on a two-game win streak after defeating the New Jersey Devils by a 3-2 score at Air Canada Centre on Thursday. Toronto got goals from Shawn Matthias, Tyler Bozak and a shootout winner from P-A Parenteau en route to the victory. James Reimer made 32 saves for the Maple Leafs in the win and was not beaten in the shootout. He starts in Ottawa on Saturday.
The Senators are coming off of a 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Ottawa on Thursday night. Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone scored for the Senators in the loss while Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond combined to make 21 stops on 28 shots. Anderson gets the nod in goal for the Senators against the Maple Leafs.
Stay tuned for comments from Coach Babcock, the Leafs, projected lineups and more.